The Beautiful

The neighbor said, In case I kick the bucket there's a file
             folder listing everything my family will need to take 
care of things. I admit I am slightly more panicked 
             each time I think about how, in contrast, all my affairs 
are still in disarray. Also, I wonder about that phrase 
             all my affairs— as if years of bank and mortgage,
insurance and utility statements are a kind of on-
             again-off-again string of clandestine trysts in hotel
rooms or Airbnbs, instead of a lifetime relationship...
            The first time a new friend visited, she said Dude, 
you have so many books in here; I hardly notice anymore.
             There are paperbacks on one end of the kitchen
counter, sitting on unused dining chairs; short stacks
            at one end of the piano keyboard, and on the floor
by the coat rack. Whenever I go for blood work or
            a mammogram, the person checking me in 
always asks Do you have a living will or advance
            directive? I shake my head. I'm still trying 
to figure out which daughter should get the school
            pins and rolls of sheepskin, the unused journals;
pens, inks with names like Piloncitos and Haribon; shawls
            threaded with gold from former students. I have 
a tiny skeleton of a seahorse tucked into a cloisonné box—
            all throughout this house, assorted emblems of
the beautiful that I've tried to marry to this life.

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